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  • Upcoming Events

    • 02 December 2023 10:00 Until 03 December 2023 16:00
      Saturday, 2nd December (10am-5pm) and Sunday 3rd December (10am-4pm)
      Clifton Mill, Oswaldtwistle Mills Business Centre, Pickup St, Off Moscow Mill St, OSWALDTWISTLE, Lancs, BB5 0EY
      Admission: £5, accompanied children under-16 admitted free. Family ticket (2+2): £8
      Amenities: Hot and cold refreshments, full disabled access, free parking
      Layouts: Georgemas Junction (00), Oldswick TMD (00), The Moorings (00) , Hindleigh Yard (00), Bryford County Terminal (American HO), Llanfair Caerinion (009). Rishton (N) , Upton (N), Boston & Maine (American N), Exeter St George (O Gauge) plus Hornby Dublo (00)  
      Trade support from  Sawyer Models, North Western Models, Powerbond Glue and Brian Davis - Bespoke Wagon Loads.
      Come and join us! Prospective members will be welcome to visit our clubroom (usptairs) where layouts in 00, N Gauge and O Gauge are currently under construction.
      Nearest railway station is CHURCH & OSWALDTWISTLE (5 mins walk). Regular buses from Blackburn and Accrington.
      Contact: belmrs2019@gmail.com
    • 09 December 2023 10:00 Until 15:00
      Hillingdon Railway Modellers - Running Track Open Day – Saturday 9th December 2023
      Baptist Church Hall (side entrance), 74 Colham Avenue, Yiewsley, Hillingdon, London UB7 8HF. 
      Entrance £6.  Open 10.00 – 15.00hrs.
      Bring your O, OO or N gauge locos and trains to run on our clubs’ three separate test tracks. 
      DC and DCC available, but sorry no “live steam”.
      Please note that this is NOT an exhibition, but a good opportunity to meet fellow friendly modellers, chat, and test out your models.
      Expert help is on hand from knowledgeable club members if you have any problems with your models. Refreshments will be available all day.
      Nearest railway station: West Drayton (12 minutes’ walk).  Local bus services 222, 350, U1, U3 & U5. Website http://www.hillingdonrailwaymodellers.co.uk or phone Peter on 020 8368 4090.
    • 09 December 2023 10:00 Until 16:00
      I am really pleased to be posting details of the second Railway Studies and Modellers Show at the Passmore Edwards Centre, which is Newton Abbot Library.
      The event will be held on December 9th 2023, and runs from 10am to 4pm, there is no admission charge, but the Railway Studies Collection is part of Newton Abbot library, which is managed by Libraries Unlimited, a registered charity, and a suggested donation of £5 per person would be appreciated, to help maintain what is a huge collection of railway books, photographs and ephemera. 
      There will be two talk taking place at the show, there is a separate charge for attending these, one by Graham Walker who is the Secretary of the Railway Studies Friends, and one by JACK BOSKETT, award winning Royal and Railway Photographer, tickets for these talks are selling fast, don't miss out!
      There will be good selection of model railway layouts and traders at the show, and of course there is a café at the library selling hot and cold snacks and drinks, the bacon rolls are very good!
      please do come along and enjoy the show and the Railway Studies Collection.
      if you are able to share the event with friends and colleagues, please do!
      The Railway Studies Collection have their own Facebook page, please like and follow. They can also be found on Instagram and Tik Tok
      Railway Studies Collection in Newton Abbot | Newton Abbot | Facebook
      The library is 10 minutes walk from Newton Abbot railway station, 5 minutes from the bus station and there is ample paid car parking within close vicintiy

    • 10 December 2023 Until 11 December 2023
      Updated 23 August
      The 83rd public exhibition of the Manchester Model Railway Society will take place over the weekend of December 10th/11th 2022 at our new, spacious venue in central Manchester – The Sugden Centre, Sidney Street, M1 7HB.
      25 layouts, including two making their debut exhibition appearance.
      Approx 25 traders
      Other attractions
      Ticket prices held at their 2019 levels.
      New venue with step free access throughout.
      Visit   http://www.mmrs.co.uk/exhibition/  for full details about all aspects of the exhibition.

    • 10 December 2023 10:00 Until 16:00

      Event Date: Sun 10th December 2023

      Address: Shrewsbury House, Bushmoor Crescent, Shooters Hill, Woolwich, Greater London, SE18 3EG

      Entrance Fees: Adult-7.00, Concessions-, Child-5.00, Family-15.00
      Held at a stunning large house with interesting ww2 bunkers. Real ale bar on site and cafe.  Model railway signs present <br>

      Discounted tickets for tfl/london underground and rail staff (Passes must be shown on entry and pre-booked) 

      Free on street parking around venue and onsite cafe and real ale bar, so leave the car at home! 
      Bus 244 from Woolwich DLR, BR and Elizabeth Line and 5 mins walk from Eaglesfield Road bus stop 
      Bus 486 from North Greenwich tube and 5 mins walk from top of Shooters Hill 
      Bus 89 or 486 from Bexleyheath, Welling, Charlton, Lewisham and Blackheath to top of Shooters Hill
      More traders and layouts being added all the time 

      Please note 1/3rd of show is in upstairs rooms with no wheelchair access hence why reduced rate for wheelchair users. There is full access to bar and cafe

      Pre book tickets at  www.modelrailwaysigns.com

      Brief Encounter 00 Monochrome 1940s
      Loco Graveyard 00
      Ballyconnell Road Irish 15mm
      Quarry Falls N
      Weymouth to Ipswich Hornby third Rail
      Taymar Bridge TT gauge
      Oakbourne OO
      Back on the Buses 00
      Load of Balls
      IKEA Central N & HO
      Quevy N
      Blecthinhurst 00
      Clayton West 00
      Somewhere in France 009
      Hexton Refinary 0
      Southdown Model Bus display
      Calcutta Tea Line  HoE
      Grassinton 1890 Wide Gauge
      Menkelholf N Gauge

      Models U Drive
      All Wheels
      Model Railway Signs
      Kent Garden Railway
      A Brooks Model tools
      Harrison Brown Models
      Southwark MRC Pre Owned
      Shooters Hill Players
      Beckenham MRC pre owned
      Chilvers 3D printing
      Lauren Villier Transport Images

      OO Gauge Assc
      DC Shuttle wiring demo
      Organised by Model Railway Signs and The Shooters Hill Players Drama Society
  • Recent Blog entries

    1. Mistakes. We all make them, and if I was immune I wouldn't have to publish this errata sheet for my [hopefully first] book. 


      At the moment I've been going through some of my sketches for the book, improving some of the older ones where I think I can do better now, and adding some new ones where I can.
      I reuse everything I can, so coming to do a 79 class (1858 0-6-0) based on the Ahrons drawing in Holcroft's Armstrongs of the Great Western, I resolved to use as much as possible of my drawing of the slightly earlier and very similar 57 class. All well and good,and inside frames and motion went easily, whilst different size wheels are scarcely a problem, just count the spokes. So I got to the boiler. A quick cross check in RCTS confirmed that the principal dimensions  are recorded as being the same, so I anticipated a straight copy and paste. Pasted it in and... Well, just didn't match. 
      An overlay of three of the Ahrons drawings in Holcroft (see below) seems to suggest that his 57 boiler is just a little short. I've lined up 57, 79 and 121 drawings in the image below and you can see the variation. 





      So what to do. The trouble is although we have boiler dimensions in RCTS, they are inside the cladding, so of limited use. So do I go with my source, or do I conjecturally amend? Rightly or wrongly I'm taking the view that as these are my sketches, not Ahrons, and as I claim to be doing more than simply copying his work, I'm going to change the boiler on the 57 to be what I think it probably was, rather than reflect the source. It was a nasty surprise though.


      As a little something to amuse further, here's two other things I picked up. This is a page extract from C J Freezer's "Locomotives in Outline, GWR". You can see that my copy has angry pencil annotations.  I was very detuned when I put these in, because I'd put the statement about lever reverse in the book, and had to make a desperate last second change as it went to the printers, for the proof had already been approved. Fainter are the words "Too short" above the bunker. Freezer had unaccountably drawn the same rear overhang on his 94 drawing as on a 57, which is of course too short, and there are all sorts of distortions of bunker door cutout and roof to cram it all in. 



      Compare the proportions on the real 94.




      (photo 9466 group on Facebook)

    2. After some painfully slow progress on the new buildings, a little more fabrication has commenced. The brick plasticard has been applied, and the main shell of the building has been assembled which has held up quite nicely so far. 

      New buildings for layout three.jpg

    3. Introduction - Part 2

      One of my favourite layouts on RMweb is @ian's HO scale "Die Ercallbahn" in the German Railways Forum.  Drawing on childhood memories of the Marklin 3-rail AC system, Ian has brought those memories to life once more, creating the kind of system layout I'm sure many of us dreamt about when growing up.  I find it tells such an absorbing story that the first time I saw a video of the layout in operation, I was surprised when the doors of a small railcar didn't open on arrival at a station!



      The reason I'm referencing this grand opus here is because of the way the system has grown.  It began as a test track with just three points and a small branch line station several years ago.  It didn't just happen.  I spent my formative years pouring over pictures and track plans for American basement fillers, never imagining I wouldn't one day have my own, but I completely overlooked the bit about it taking years of planning, building, and investing to create an empire.


      I'm reminded of a famous experiment in psychology by a team led by Walter Mischel at Stanford University in California in the 1960s: "The Marshmallow Test."  The test is very simple: a child is invited to wait in a room while the adult supervising them pops out for a few minutes.  On the table in front of the child is a sweet treat - a marshmallow.  The child is told they're welcome to eat the sweet if they want, but, if it is still there when the adult returns, the child will get two marshmallows (not just the one).  This tests the child's capacity to understand (and practice) delayed gratification:




      What's the connection?  The team went on to show that those children better able to demonstrate self-control at a young age, could be shown (statistically) to be more likely to enjoy greater success in later life.  In my case, having put off for years the task of building a model railway, partly due to the distractions of life, and partly due to a sense I'd still get round to it one day, I thought I was being just like one of those children, putting off the good to wait for something better later. 


      I didn't realise I was making the same mistake again - all the child has to do if they want to receive the better treat is to wait.  But if I want to have a model railway, I can't just wait.  I need to get on and actually build things...(which I am now getting more practice at):






      My personal favourite American HO scale basement empire was Bruce Chubb's original Sunset Valley layout, featured in a six part series in Model Railroader magazine in 1979.  Chubb even noted that: "it didn't just spring up overnight.  It evolved little by little, piece by piece, idea by idea." (Model Railroader, March 1979, p81).  Bruce and his wife Janet began making structures and freight car kits while he was on military service with a young family, with nowhere for a layout.  Some scenic modules were completed, and then placed in storage at the home of Janet's parents (MR, May 1979, p87).


      Returning to The Marshmallow Test, the Team observed some children put a lot of creative energy and effort into not eating the first marshmallow.  They weren't actually just sitting there.  The prize, the goal, required effort.  Bruce and Janet Chubb took their creative energy and invested it in a future layout.  They took their dream and converted into a plan, with a strategy to get there.  I get that now.  As railway modelling wasn't that important to me for many years, my dreams remained dreams.  I enjoyed them as dreams, but my trains sat quietly waiting in their box.


      As I explained in my previous post, it's time for me to look at it all in a different way...


      Chapter 2 - Continental Modelling: "But what about now...?"

      While I never had a Marklin model railway, Die Ercallbahn also speaks to my childhood dream in another way too.  My own first (unfinished) layout was in British N Gauge, very different in the 1970s to where it is today.  I'm sure I was not alone in casting envious glances at Continental layouts, mainly German, with their steam hauled express trains headed up by models of enormously long prototypes with too many wheels, all bright red and shiny beneath their black boilers, or electric locos gliding almost silently past on their way to imaginary destinations I couldn't pronounce, in lands of great cities, huge forests and romantic castles.


      Interest in American Model Railroading is a given for me - it's inherited - but Continental Modelling is the stuff of dreams, and after re-entering the world of actual railway modelling through my small H0e layout, I've been drawn back to ideas for a Continental layout several times in the past couple of years.  In my previous blog, I wrote about how I've often keep running into the problem of space constraints, trying to fit too much into into spaces that are too small - grand ideas that didn't survive contact with reality for long.  For example, I tried the Glacier Express of the Furka-Oberalp in H0m, but I wanted this:




      when my space ended up looking like this:




      I tried N-Scale, to run those long express trains.  But they'd still benefit from an exhibition space, not a portable table in a spare bedroom:




      I also found the details and couplings on American stock too small in N-Scale.  It all meant that project idea folded too.


      Looking back now, the post I wrote a year ago when I closed down that project shows just how disappointed I was.  It was the correct decision, but not a happy one.


      I'll cover my experiences with TT (1:120) in my next blog post, but after I returned to HO Scale following my N-Scale idea, it wasn't long before the European railways I'm interested in (Austrian / German / Swiss) caught my imagination once again.  I was still inspired by mainline trains, developing grand ideas once again - this time inspired by YouTube videos of prototype mainline operations, and I had a look at some superb HO Scale models.  Could I squeeze in a layout after all?




      Inspiration doesn't make for a bigger house.  And when reality bit once again this past Summer, it looked like my Continental dreams were going back onto the shelf.  I just kept an assortment of unbuilt kits I'd bought and will enjoy making:




      But then I had a small win (£100) on the Premium Bonds, just as I was rethinking my ideas (my previous blog post).


      How about I apply the learning described in my previous post to my interest in Continental modelling as well?  My Premium Bond winnings went on this - a Fleischmann Train Pack:



      Stepping back in time: this set was sold as Epoche 1 and the loco numbering pre-dates the DRG.  I have everything to learn.  But the sheer childlike excitement I felt when the parcel arrived from Contikits and I unpacked the set has made it all feel worth it. 




      So now, if I take heed of the lessons I'm learning, maybe my own dream can still become a reality. 




      I have my other interests to follow too, but it looks like I can fit a short branch line train into just about 2':






      And that's the point of this story.  With a bit of luck (my Premium Bonds win) and some more careful thinking, maybe I can still give my child inside what I used to dream about.  Isn't that one thing a hobby is for?  Thank you for reading, Keith.


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